The Simply Clean Home

Listen, if the baby gets under the cupboard and there is something in there that will kill her, I don’t want it in my house.  What that also means is that anything I use to clean is non-toxic, safe to breathe in, easy on the environment, inexpensive, and effective.  Are you sure it works?  Of course I am sure it works!  I have a zillion animals and a lot of dust.  I cook a lot and like things clean and tidy (for the two seconds they stay that way.)

I use baking soda in place of Ajax-style cleaners.  Put some on a dripping wet rag and smear all over the kitchen sink, the bathtub and tiles, and the bathroom sink.  Now rinse off.  Super shiny!  Add a little bit of tea tree oil to make it disinfectant.  You can also add a drop of castile soap.  I like Dr. Bronner’s.  I tried the discount one and it was oddly oily.

Dr. Bronner’s also cleans dishes but so does a non-toxic dish soap.  Either can be used in a big tub of hot water to clean the floors, walls, cupboards, etc.  A wrung out washcloth with a little soap cleans everything.  A touch of Dr. Bronner’s in the toilet bowl gets it nice and clean.

Once in awhile I will treat my wood with olive oil and lemon essential oil.  It is fabulous.

A touch of vinegar in any mixture disinfects as well.  In a book I just finished, My Life as an Amish Housewife by Lena Yoder (Amazon has it), she mentions adding a 1/2 cup of vinegar to the laundry as a fabric softener.

clothesline

I love using the clothes line to dry clothes.  I didn’t have a dryer for pry a decade before my adorable puppy started shredding all the clothes on the line and running around the yard with glee, a pair of stockings in his mouth.  I conceded and got a dryer.  I wonder if he is old enough that I can use the line again.  I love the time spent hanging clothes in the sun and the way they feel all warm as I fold them.  As with all chores on the homestead, it is meditative.  Wait until you read about my clothes “washer” below in the links of recipes I am sharing with you from my past blogs.  I am on the lookout for another one!

Conventional cleaners aren’t only poisonous when ingested, they aren’t biodegradable, which means they sit on the surface of waterways around the world, killing everything from microbes to fish and then reentering our water supply again.  Save money, go simple, and enjoy your gleaming house (until the puppy comes back in)!

The Handy Dandy Double Tub Washer (not a lick of rust)

The Clean Green Homestead

How to Make a Nourishing, Infused Oil for Dry Skin

It is so dry around here that I do believe a stale cracker blowing across the desert in a windstorm has more moisture than my skin has right now.  Colorado is always dry-most of the state is high desert- but winter is the worst!  It is time to make a nourishing infused oil and calm that itching down.

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A small crock pot is perfect to keep in the bathroom plugged in.  After the concoction is infused in the crock pot, you merely have to turn it on warm as you get into the shower.  Or pour a bit into the bath.  Use on lips, hands, face; the whole body will just absorb it with fervor.

You can easily just use the oil as is.  In Ayurveda sesame oil is used.  Olive oil is a natural sunscreen and has a long shelf life.  But I am more of a sunflower girl, myself.  Rich in vitamin E and oleic acid, sunflower oil is nourishing and absorbs easily.  I am also an herbalist so I infuse some medicinal herbs into my oil.  It makes it all the better.

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In 32 ounces of sunflower oil poured into the crock pot, I added a small handful of roses, calendula, mullein leaves, and lemon verbena.  I let that infuse on low for a few hours.  The herbs are dried so they won’t mold and sunflower oil lasts easily two years.  Other herbs that might be nice are lavender, pine, or geranium.

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No need to strain.  I use my fingers to apply but you could use a small sponge.  This time of year the oil absorbs faster than you can apply it so be liberal and feel great.

How to Make Ear Drops

ear drops

Shyanne often had ear aches when she was little.  A lot of children do.  Ear infections, ear aches, swimmer’s ear, and in dogs and cats we have yeast infections and ear mites.  One single ear drop can take care of it all.

Take 1 clove of garlic (more is not better) sliced in half and combine with 1/2 cup of olive oil in a sauce pan.  If you have a willow tree, take some of the leaves or a 1/2 inch twig.  If you have mullein flowers, use those.  If you have a health food store you can pick up willow bark or you can purchase it online.  Use about 2 teaspoons.

Now over medium-low heat gently shake the pan every minute or so to keep the oil from burning.  Do this for 20 minutes until the smell of garlic is evident.  Cool and use a cotton ball, cotton swab, or dropper to administer a few drops in affected ear.

Or, work ahead of time.  Add all ingredients into a half pint jar and place in sunny window for two weeks.  Done.

This little concoction can save you in the middle of the night with a screaming baby or hundreds of dollars at the vet with a dog who won’t stop scratching his ears!

So simple.  So effective.

 

Beef Bourguignon (homestead style)

Even though we are homesteaders (and make a bit over twenty grand a year) we love really good food.  It’s not just for the rich.  We eat fresh vegetables from the garden, home canned vegetables in the winter, humanely raised and organically and grass fed animals raised by friends or nearby farmers.  We love good, strong coffee (fair trade), and delicious teas.  We love good olive oil and spices.  When you don’t spend money on processed food, you have enough left over to buy (or grow) great food.

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I was anxious to make the Julia Child classic Beef Bourguignon.  After years and years of making the recipe with veggie meat, I was ready to make the real deal with sirloin I had purchased from my friends, Margaret and Krista.  Krista actually goes and visits with her cows every day.  They are well loved and well fed animals.  I looked over the recipe from Julia Child and one from Ina Garten.  I did not have all the ingredients.  The nearest store is thirty minutes away and budget is tight right now (we need to get wood!) so I streamlined the recipe to what I had and it turned out mouthwateringly good.  You don’t have to follow recipes exactly.  You can add or subtract what you like and don’t like.  Add more of something.  Be creative.  I didn’t have any bacon, but I bet that would be great in the stew.  I didn’t want to put in all that onion.  I had dried mushrooms.  It all worked out.  And I had a happy, well fed homesteading hubby.  A glass of rich, red wine goes beautifully with this dish.  Also add a loaf of homemade bread.

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Homesteader’s Beef Bourguignon

2 Tb of olive oil

1 lb. of sirloin cut into inch cubes.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper and dredge in flour.  Sear on all sides then transfer to a crock pot or a Dutch oven to set on the wood cook stove.

In same pan, scrape off bits of meat and add 2 more tablespoons of olive oil

Over medium heat sauté a diced onion and a sliced carrot along with 2 cloves of diced garlic for about ten minutes until fragrant and onion is translucent and just browning.  Add to meat.

To meat mixture add 2 cups of marinara sauce, 2 cups of red wine (good wine, no cooking wine), and 1 1/2 cups of broth.  Throw in a bay leaf and 2 Tablespoons of fresh thyme (or 1 1/2 teaspoons of dried), plus 1 cup of sliced mushrooms.

Cook in crock pot on low or on wood cook stove for 6 hours.

Combine 3 heaping tablespoons of flour to doubled the water and whisk.  Stir into stew and cook (on high if using crock pot, no heat change on wood stove) for 30 minutes until a little thicker.  Season with salt and pepper.

Bon Appetite!